WHERE THERE IS SMOKE THERE IS FIRE Latino voters are still chillin’

Al Vasquez/La Prensa Hispana

As we watch California go up in smoke, politicians seem only too eager to blame natures’ unpredictable inflammatory temperament on global warming and the war in Iraq. Neither one of these certainly problematic predicaments can account for the galloping thunder of the Santa Ana winds stoking the flames into an inferno. Perhaps these loco politicians at the ready with naïve partisan accusations have inhaled a whiff of the burning hillsides often targeted by DEA agents.

Meanwhile, Latino voters are not convinced our elected representatives actually give a hoot about solving any of our problems. They do give a hoot about being re-elected. For the past several years, Bush bashing has been so much in vogue, anything the president is for, the opposing party is against while pressing Latino issues are relegated to the back of the bus by both parties.

A recent poll undertaken by United Latinos Vote has revealed what Latinos are actually wary about as we head towards 2008. The number one statistic that immediately catches your eye is the 81% of Latinos who do not believe their vote makes a wit of a difference. That’s interesting. Perhaps, that accounts for the lethargy in actually getting out there to cast a ballot. For those who do cast a vote, 70% do not believe their government represents them. These are amazing numbers.

An eye opener for current candidates of either party is the fact, 48% do not like any of those running. A third, 31% already suggest they will be too busy to vote while 15% do not have a clue as to where to vote.

While the debate rages on about how soon to get the troops out of Iraq, funding the troops and pursuing the terrorists in Afghanistan, Latinos are suffering with more mundane issues. Eighty percent consider Health care as their primary concern, 78% are concerned about educational issues. Seventy-one are concerned about jobs and the economy and 62% are still holding out hope on the immigration crisis. Fifth and sixth on the list is the war in Iraq sticking snuggly with public safety.

While California is ablaze or steaming, Latino voters seem to be cooling their heels waiting for a politico messiah. We better sit down.